Moving abroad and the trailing spouse – my wife’s view point

Finally the day has come and my wife gives her passionate perspective on our move abroad to Barcelona. From the day I started this site I have planned to get her to write a post about her views so this is momentous.

I’ll let you make the judgement on whether there’s still a slight bit of lingering frustration towards me. Leave a comment at the bottom with your opinion of whether you think I’m off the hook yet!

In seriousness, it’s great to have an alternative perspective on the way I’ve described our experience in My relocation story. I’ve left it unedited to keep the messages clear.

Moving abroad and the trailing spouse…

Moving abroad and the trailing spouseI first heard the term ‘trailing spouse’ in April 2012 when I was researching moving to Barcelona with my husband (Al). The term trailing spouse is used to describe a person who follows his or her life partner to another city (or country in our case) because of work.

‘Trailing’ isn’t a word I would have used to describe myself in the past, but it certainly summed up how I felt during our move abroad from the UK to Barcelona and back again! If you have read Al’s ‘My Relocation Story‘ you will know roughly what happened when we moved abroad so I won’t go into the details here but I will say that Al’s story only outlines what he experienced.

For those wives/husbands/partners considering following your loved one abroad, my thoughts might go someway to make you feel that you aren’t alone in your worries. That the person ‘following’ isn’t necessarily driven by an exciting, once in a life time opportunity, but perhaps by the desire to make the person you love happy, to make their dreams come true, to not be resented or be the party pooper!

When Al first mentioned the Barcelona job I was very torn, on the one it was exciting to be handed such a tantalising opportunity, on the other it was scary and potentially disastrous. We are like two sides of a coin, Al is positive to the extreme, often completely discounting realism for the ‘dream’. I am a realist, I see the potential but I will always consider the issues foremost (Al would more often than not describe this as pessimism!). So I took on the role of ‘realist’ immediately and I think it’s fair to say he decided I was being negative and shut down to listening to any objections I had.

I scoured the internet looking for information, joined expat forums and chat rooms, thought about education and social integration, worried about the lack of support we would have and the emotional impact on those people we hold dearest. I worried about our financial stability, our get out plan (or lack thereof) and the impact on our daughter. After much deliberation I wholeheartedly wanted to stay put, to ere on the side of caution, to not take the risk, but I didn’t want to forever regret passing up this incredible opportunity for my family or spend the rest of our marriage being resented. So after many sleepless nights, arguments, tears and tantrums, against my better judgement I trailed!

Do I regret it?

I’m still deciding. It was an extremely difficult journey. One that I think our marriage is still recovering from. It was exciting, heartbreaking, exhausting and exhilarating. We made some wonderful memories and there were some truly dark days. Would I change it if I could? No. We have a beautiful baby girl who was conceived on our journey, the torch that lit our way home!

Would I do it again? I doubt it, I learnt a lot about myself and what I need to be happy and let’s just say it isn’t sun, sea and sand (although that helps).

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